Symptoms of Speech Delay

Symptoms of Speech Delay

Speech Delay Symptoms Author

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BASLP, Speech-Language Pathologist

  • Does your child have difficulty communicating his/her needs?
  • Is your child’s speech unclear?
  • Does your child have difficulty articulating sounds?

If your answer is ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, then this blog is for you. The above difficulties may be suggestive of a speech disorder or a language disorder in the child and a Speech-Language Pathologist can provide a correct diagnosis and treatment after a detailed assessment of your child’s difficulty.

Though most commonly termed as ‘speech disorder’, the correct term to say when a child is not speaking age-adequately is ‘speech and language delay’. Here, let us look further into the symptoms of speech delay.

What Are the Signs of Speech Delay?

If a child has a speech delay, the child is likely to show some of the below-listed signs. If you notice any of these signs in your child, do not delay to consult a speech-language pathologist.

  •   The baby does not produce many combinations of  sounds such as /pa, ba, ma/ etc. even after turning 8 months
  •   Not making a variety of sounds even after 10 months
  •   The child has not said a clear word even after turning 1
  •   Does not imitate words even after turning 18 months
  •   Has less than 50 words even though the child is 18 months or older
  •   The child is not able to form a 2-word phrase even after 2 years
  •   The child still communicates his/her needs by pulling and dragging the parent to the desired item or by crying even after turning 2 years

How Do I Know If Speech Therapy Is Necessary?

If the child has any of the above-listed symptoms there could be a possibility of speech and language delay. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child or dear ones, the first positive step is to consult a qualified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). An SLP will provide a clear view of your child’s speech and language skills and recommend speech therapy depending on his/her needs after an in-depth evaluation.

At What Age Do Late Talkers Talk?

There is no specific age or age range that can be called the age at which late talkers talk. It varies from child to child and depends on many factors like the child’s environment, level of difficulty, history of late talkers in the family, etc. If speech therapy is introduced at the right time and sufficient training is provided at home following an SLP’s recommendations, the chances for the child to start speaking are more. Early identification and intervention are the keys; if speech delay is identified and intervened early, there are good chances for improvement.

How Long Should Speech Therapy Be Taken?

The period of therapy depends on the following factors:

  •   The speech difficulty of your child
  •   The severity of speech difficulty
  •   Age at which speech therapy was started
  •   Is the child having any other difficulties apart from speech?
  •   Involvement of parents in therapy
  •   Regular home training

All these factors play a crucial role in deciding the duration of speech therapy. With intensive speech sessions and regular home training, the majority of kids show improvement in 3-6 months. However, it does not guarantee that any speech difficulty can be resolved with 3-6 months of therapy. Progress and improvement depend on the child, therapy provided, and home training.

What Age Is Best for Speech Therapy?

0-3 years is called the critical period in a child’s development because during this time the child can learn almost anything we teach them. If we provide intervention to the child during this age range, the child will show good improvement. If you suspect any delay in your child’s speech and language skills, consult an SLP as early as possible and initiate appropriate intervention at the earliest.


If you feel your child is not speaking age adequately when compared to other kids of his/her age group, make sure to consult an SLP. After a detailed investigation, the Speech-Language Pathologist will guide you about your child’s difficulties in detail and suggest a treatment plan according to your child’s needs. Ensure that the treatment plan is followed correctly at home and in all possible situations.

Always remember, the earlier, the better; the earlier you start the treatment, the better the child’s prognosis will be.


TV could be a reason for reduced speech and language output and can cause speech delay. When a child is left alone to watch TV, phone, or any other visual media, the child might understand what is happening in the video, but will not have an opportunity to express his/her thoughts and ask questions.

It is important to note that screen time should not be introduced to children before 2 yrs of age.

Kids start communicating from birth. The first mode of communication is crying followed by a difference in the crying pattern to express hunger, discomfort, pain, etc. By one year, a child must be able to say his/her 1st word and in 18 months, a child should have a vocabulary of 50 words. When the child reaches 2 years, the child should be able to combine 2 words to speak (for example “mamma bye”).

No, it is not normal for a 3 yr old not to talk. By 3 yrs of age, a typically developing child should be able to speak in 3-4 word sentences and should be able to say 1 or 2 sentences to questions asked.

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